Beyonce presents Colin Kaepernick with Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Colin Kaepernick

Thank you, Colin Kaepernick. "With or without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people".

Ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the USA national anthem a year ago in a protest over race equality.

Aside from Beyoncé's surprise appearance, SI's Sportsperson of the Year honors went to two Houston athletes - Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Astros shortstop José Altuve - who brought hope to the city after Hurricane Harvey's devastation.

"Colin took action with no fear of effect or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better", said Beyonce, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

"There will never be another Muhammad Ali, but you can see the echoes of (Ali) in what Colin has done over the last 12 to 15 months". "Thank you for your personal sacrifice", she began, per BuzzFeed News.

Kaepernick was named the victor of the award after he started kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality in America.

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As for Kaep. the QB said he was accepting the award for the people - and made it clear that he doesn't need football to keep fighting for them.

The 30-year-old Wisconsin native, who attended the University of Nevada before getting picked by the Niners in the second round of the 2011 draft, opted out of his contract with the organization in March and has remained a free agent ever since with the 2017 regular season nearing its conclusion.

Kaepernick has done just that.

Many larger protests followed, with President Trump saying other players who did the same should be fired.

A beaming Kaepernick said he was "beyond humbled" to be introduced by Beyoncé and to be receiving the prestigious award. "He stands up for equal rights and he won't let anybody tell him what he can't do".

According to USA Today, "Former winners of the award include: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Jack Nicklaus and Jim Brown". Kaepernick was named the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award for his highly publicized protests, which started with kneeling during the national anthem before games as a means of denouncing the ways the United States "oppresses black people and people of color".

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